tv Charlie Rose WHUT May 16, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
progogram, tonight a conversation with bill nighy one of the best actors of our generation, his latest film is called "the best exotic marigold hotel". in which he stars with judi dench, maggie smith and others. >> i have always had a job with mostly there were periods i didn't when i was young, like most actors, but i was, you know, i mostly have been lucky, i think it is probably better this way around. had i been this visible and this kind of noticeable when i was younger i don't know that it would have been too good for me. >> i am old enough now, i don't need an excuse, i did actually retire, i was in the bathroom or something and there was another cool thing you want to do as shakshakespeare and i basically struggled wit and if i was younger and needed anything to increase my reputation, my agent would say come on, you know, and i would have to struggle with it, and then i got a point where
i thought you know what? i retire, i think i even made a phone call to my agent and said i retire from any form of shakespeare. >> i think you were like 41 when you did this. >> i think i was, yes. >> you know. >> is also, there is also the phone call where you know you are 41 because they phone up and say it is hamlet, it is -- and you go, no, and you go, it is moscow and tokyo and new york and it is 18 months and whatever and you go, i don't want to play hamlet and they say it is not ham met it is claudia. >> and you go no, claudius! what happened to hamlet? you mean, i don't get to turn down hamlet anymore? i have to turn down claudius? >> bill nighy for the hour, next. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following.
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> have you tried digging about a bit? >> i did that. >> did you kind of bang it lightly on the desk a few times? >> yes, i did that too. >> okay. all right. >> how do you come to be in india? >> oh, i invested our -- well, my retirement money in our daughter's internet company. she assures me that as soon as to the startup actually started up and the conversion from virtual to actual became sufficiently viable then she would pay us all back. >> i am not sure i understand what most of these words mean. >> well, it turns out neither
did she. >> ah. there you are. good as new. >> really? >> no, of course not. >> now, would you like me to not fix that chair? i am almost certain i can. >> rose: it does not get any better than that, judi dench and bill nighy their new movie called "the best exotic marigold hotel". he stars alongside judi dench, dev patel, in his latest role of what he calls a scatter gun career he played anything from mi 5 spy to davy jones in pirates of the caribbean movies i am pleased to have bill nighy back at this table, welcome. >> thank you. >> good to see you. >> always. >> this is -- tell me about this movie. >> this movie is about a bunch of old people who go to india because they have all become financially embarrassed because
of the recent financial crisis, and they all respond to an advertisement on the web site that suggests that they can live out their lives in luxury in india with the little money they have left but when they get there, guess what. >> rose: it is not luxury? >> it is not quite finished. >> rose: not quite nirvana. >> no. >> but the interesting characters here, john madden has assembled an extraordinary group of people here. >> yes. it is a wonderful cast, and john mad again is a terrific director and a credit to him and the script that he could attract such people, industry known these people all my life, really, i have been married to penelope wilton at least twice before. >> rose: in the movies. >> in the movies i have been have been romantically involved with judi dench on three occasion a, occasion and tom will con son reminded me we have known each other since we have been 20 give. >> rose: and that makes it a more interesting experience than normal. >> it is unusual experience because it usually doesn't happen, that kind of collection
of people and it was very -- it did make it kind of easy, you have a shorthand and familiar with one another and we got over any obstacles. >> rose: but you have to bring the a game. >> yes. i became sincerely attached to this movie as soon as jud judi dench's name was mentioned. >> rose:. >> yes. because i have worked with her as i say several times before and i do have the feeling that i raise my game when she is one of the great actresses currently working and it is an honor and privilege and i do sort of feel that she brings out the best in you. you just kind of naturally instinctivelily do, you kind of try, you attempt her level of things, she operates at a very high level. >> rose: you once with said to me she comes armed. >> yes, she comes well -- in fact she comes unarmed, it is like she has no schtick and does quite a rare thing which is she just tries -- she just goes for honesty and authenticity is the
kind of base camp, and there are no tricks, and she kind of -- she just invites lightning to strike, i can't think of a better way of putting it and it is very discreet, but when you are actually acting, the actual physical reality of acting with her is very satisfying, it is shocking in a quiet kind of way, because she is kind of -- she is -- this sounds kind of pomp -- she is deeply present is a way of putting it. >> now what would be wrong with armed? armed with talent? armed with intuitive understanding of what it is about? armed with a sense force moment? armed with authenticity? >> she certainly has that, nothing wrong with that whatsoever and she certainly a has all of those things when i say unarmed i mean she doesn't have an arsenal of tricks she is going to use. if we end up in trouble she is not going to reach into her bag
and bring out some trick he is going to go for the real thing. >> rose: and you? >> me. >> i attempt to join her there, you know, i think with me when i watch myself whe when which i ty not to do because it upsets me so much but i do see familiar things from -- in each performance and i think oh there you go again, you picked that one out of the bag you must have been in some kind of trouble. >> rose: you try not to watch myself. >> i try not to watch myself because i don't enjoy it and it doesn't help me in any way, so i try and avoid it if i can. >> rose: but don't you have to watch the movies? >> industry to do adr which is dubbing where the sound goes wrong and you have to lip sync prying to the film's release that is an upsetting experience, all actors find that upsetting because the film is yet to be graded so everybody looks terrible, and it is not finished and -- but the only time i really watch myself, if i can help it i don't watch the finished article. i am perfectly happy with the relationship of other people watching it and if they enjoy it
it is fine, if i watch it have askewed perception of myself. i am not -- i am not the best -- i just have learned to accept the fact, not reluctantly but slowly that i am probably not the best judge. >> rose: of your talent or of a scene? >> of committal lent even when i was young fehr and less complicated to look at, i still really didn't enjoy it, it doesn't help me, people say you should watch it in order to learn from your mistakes, but it doesn't work like that. >> rose: do you watch other people? >> yes, i watch other people all the time and you know i am a great enenthusiast for acting and love watching actors and i think it is a primary arrangement form and very, very -- i am deeply pass made and concerned with it, i just prefer to leave myself -- >> rose: other than doing it, how have you learned the most about acting?
>> i think it is only by doing it and by watching other people do it, when i was young, i was lucky i worked on bbc radio, and as a young man, my apprenticeship was basically on bed bc, bc radio where i rubbed shoulders with seriously good actors and in a small space and watched them at close quarters and i think by osmosis you kind of pick things up. i think you learn a great deal from watching other actors. >> rose: i know nothing about it as you know but it is often seemed to me that the audio part is as important as the visual part. >> oh, yeah. i think i worked probably more from that angle than any other. well, you kind of cover everything, obviously and on the radio it is very interesting because you have to focus everything obviously you only have your voice, and you do is a to express everything to do with the character and the tell story entirely through that, and it is, i think very, very good training for a young actor, i
think it is really goodies preliminary and it focuses you in a way that perhaps other things don't. most people who look at you today say he benefitted greatly from the fact that it was a, quote, slow burn. >> well, yeah,. >> rose: you just as soon made a lot of money early? >> no, not really. i don't regret any of the -- i was doing pretty, you know, i was doing okay before i made some money, you know, i have always had a job with mostly there were periods where i didn't, when i was young, like most actors, but i was, you know, i have mostly been lucky, i think it is probably better this way around, had i been this visible and this kind of noticeable when i was younger i don't know that it would have been too good for me. >> rose: could you have handled it? >> probably not. or at least not as well as i can now. i don't know. maybe i underestimate myself. >> rose: i suspect you do. >> perhaps but i kind of like it the way things have worked out.
my only regret is i wish, i wish i had known what was going to happen because i would have arranged to have been more cheerful along the way you know what i mean? >> rose: what does that mean. >> those nights you couldn't, didn't have any money and couldn't pay the rent and you didn't know up ahead it was going to turn out okay, there were a lot of times when, you know, it was uncertain. >> rose: it is the terrible thing about unemployment, you can't enjoy the fact you don't have to go to work because you are worrying whether you will ever go to work. >> yes. i know, i have tried it because i have had to do quite long periods of, when, you know, where you don't work and, you know, i tried to examine it and take it up outside of itself and look and say what do i do? i take the dog for a walk and go to the park, and choose which novelly read, the life of riley, you know, i have something to eat i have a roof over my head what is wrong? but. >> rose: all of the anxiety. >> exactly. >> rose: do you still have any anxiety about this? >> yes, i do. i hate starting jobs. i steam to start from scratch, i
don't seem to be able to use, you know, the precedence in my career for any kind of us is at the significance, sustenance and things are better than they used to be .. but via long history of putting the wind to myself. >> you love the idea you don't have to audition anymore. >> it is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me in my life, honestly. well, you ask any actor who has had to audition and i had to audition for most of my adult life, and you sit in outer offices waiting with all of the other guys and you go into a room, a cold, you know, darkroom where there are people who look pretty disinterested and you perform, you know, sometimes, i was talking to a young actor the other day and i told him i once auditioned on horseback except there was no horse so you had to kind of pretend you were on a horse and supposed to be sword fighting at the same time while doing dialogue with another actor who didn't have a horse and it was one of the loneliest
moments of my life and i never have to do it again, thank you. >> rose: what did love actually -- >> basically, love put a stop to me having to audit dick's that is basically what happened, yes. >> rose:. >> love actually was a hit and made me castable and more useful and i went to some early meetings after that where i couldn't .. quite work out what was wrong with this meeting and i realized they were trying to sell me the job rather than the other way around. >> rose: when some director says get my a bill nighy, rather than saying me get my bill nighy, what do you think they are asking for? >> i don't really know, charlie. >> but there is something unique about you, there is a distinct uniqueness. >> well, you know, i don't experience it, because -- >> rose: you are you -- >> on the other hand there are certain words that crop up more than others, i am not quite sure i am not quite sure what they mean. the most frequent is lush. >> rose: i am not sure what that means. >> i am not sure it is
altogether good and the other is laconic. >> rose: laconic is okay. that is kind of good. >> that is kind of cool. >> rose: kind of cool. >> keep it coming. >> rose: that is good. let's dismiss loosh and go with laconic, the laconic bill nighy. >> but apart from that i am not really sure. i mean, i am just grateful that apparently there is some element that i can offer. >> rose: some definitions, some people say that loosh is a kind of shady. >> yeah, it does have those connotations, it is not altogether a healthy thing. >> rose: you could be mysterious, though? >> yeah, maybe. >> rose: steed difficult? >> seed can i is another. >> seedy is another word. >> it is a word, the .. kind of parts i play, you get kind of seasons of parts where you play -- i once played seven journalists on -- when i was young, i played a journalist and it went open okay. >> rose: you look like a journalist too. >> i do. >> rose: i want -- that and
then you -- is that before you went to paris you wanted to be a journalist? >> yes. >> rose: a journalist or simply a writer. >> i wanted to be a writer. i wanted to basically precisely emulate ernest hemingway's life which is predictable for someone of my vintage and he ha had beea reporter on the toronto star and i 20 the advertiser, my local paper and i had an interview and i didn't have enough credentials, i hadn't passed enough exams and then i went to paris to try to write the great english short sorry i. >> at that time you were 16. >> i was 16. >> rose: you just left for paris. >> i went to paris. >> rose: unafraid. >> no i was very afraid, i was quite adventurous but i wasn't unafraid, i was very anxious and i didn't know -- i had no money, we used to beg on the truck dero for money and all of that which you are probably familiar with,. >> rose: yes, i am. >> and. >> rose: and you were doing it -- the mere fact you did it -- >> well, as the story that sort
of entered my archive. >> rose: it has. >> so therefore i won't repeat it but in the meantime, i didn't do anything sensible like write anything so i was too busy trying to keep house and hide -- >> rose: what convinced you you were not going to be hemingway? >> nothing really convinced me it just drifted away because i didn't have the courage to sit there long enough with a blank piece of paper. and then i, and then i began, i started to act and i got jobs and -- >> rose: there is in paris? >> no, no, i came back from paris and then i went to drama college, and then i started getting jobs. >> rose: right away? >> yeah i got a job straight away in those days you could drive a van, you could paint the set, you could -- they had regional, provincial theaters all over the country, they don't now, you can't do it now, you kind of have to may make it or not make it and in those days you didn't have to make it, wow could get a gig and make some money and you could be doing -- you would have a couple of lines in a play but you would be in the company of actors and
writers and directors and it was very satisfying and i had a wonderful time you didn't make any money or anything but it was not -- it was a time that was not the priority. >> rose: you have said before, david hair was the most influential. >> david hair has been, yeah, one of the relationships i treasure, if not the relationship i treasure most professionally, probably, there are others, i mean with richard curtis, but david hair, leadingo one else was giving me leading roles, in the theatre and on television, and when i read, you know, the first thing i read of david's it was like it was deeply familiar to me, it was not only brilliant, i think he is a great man and a great writer, i think he is a great thing in the world. >> rose: he has had an instinct for ideas that you shared? >> there was something -- i think with -- i had a theory with art of any kind that when you -- when it is true and
great, you receive it as if you are remembering it in -- there is a familiarity about it, i don't think in truth you obviously you are not -- i it is as if, it is as if he would have given me another couple of minutes i would have gotten around to saying that, it is the sort of -- it is exactly -- you know what i mean. >> rose: exactly. >> tha that is exactly what i ws going to say but you expressed a fleeting moment before i would have because we were reacting to what we saw in the same way. >> yes. >> rose: or what we heard. >> yes. and brilliantly. i mean, he is a brilliant man and i am very, very at this treasure that relationship and i worked with him all my life. >> rose: and will continue, i assume. >> and am continuing, we made a film for bbc television called page 8. >> rose: i loved it. i really did. >> well, thank you. it is my ideal situation and we are going to make two more, so there will be a trilogy of feature length films for the bbc
which will go out next year. >> rose: how is he as a performer? >> david hair? >> he was very, very good, it was a brilliant show, he talked about the middle east and he talked about -- >> rose: he talked about vernon wall. >> will he is very good at it. >> rose: if someone said to you today you have to make a choice, sorry to say this to you, bill but it is either going to be on stage or on film, choose. >> yeah, well,. >> rose: is that hard? >> it is very, very hard if there was a gun at my head, it is really, really, really hard. andive money is the same -- >> rose: let's assume that. >> then i guess -- i mean, i think i would probably at this time -- and if it is now in my life i would probably say the theatre. >> rose: you would? >> yes. >> rose: and why? >> because it is kind of -- >> rose: i understand it is a slight edge only? >> yes. to say it is marge that will, i mean, i don't know why. i do know why, i think it is because where i get real
exercise and because you have to do it all in one go two. >> rose: right. >> because you have to do it eight times a week, i relish the kind of -- the repetition, it is not repetitious repetition because it is never quite the same and i even seek out the kind of fatigue element involved. i don't mind that kind of -- i like working that hard and i like doing it that many times in an attempt to get it obsessively perfect and if it is funny, which it generally is, because i gave up doing plays without jokes in them, because, you know -- >> rose: no jokes you say no thanks? >> i think it is bad manners to invite people to sit in the dark two hours and not tell them a joke. >> rose: or not make them laugh. >> or not make them laugh and i generally do nude plays, i have been spoiled, and the delivering of jokes and trying to get, arrange for all of those people to laugh at the same time is endlessly fascinating, and it never gets old.
and i would quite happily spend my, you know, the rest of my life trying to do so. >> rose: what is it you like about movies? >> i like about movies the fact that, i mean -- >> rose: director's medium. >> there is that and i do like the fact that it is kind of close work, you can take it really, you can work in a minute way, you can work in a very, very subtle fashion, hopefully, and the fact that, you know, you reach a lot of people. >> rose: that and the money is good. >> and the money is good. >> rose: yes. sure, why not. so when you look at what you are doing today, and something like this comes along, tell me who douglas ainslie is in this movie. >> douglas ages lisa man who was a civil servant and did a job he hated all of his life for about 35 years and he has been married for about the same length of time who is a woman who he continuously and deeply disappoints. she only has to look at him order to become depressed, and
there is something funny about that. >> rose: but what impact does that have on him? >> well, he is kind of -- he is what i am interested in is the fact that he is a decent man and that he always seeks a decent option and he instinctively does it he doesn't do it as a strategic think or even as a moral thing he simply is drawn to that which he feels is right. that is very, to me that is kind of heroic and interesting. >> rose: yes. >> eventually, as you see as the film goes on and also exhausts him, disappointing someone to that degree for that length of time is kind of grueling. >> rose: but he has to go to india because as you showed in that scene, he backed a venture by husband daughter and it was his retirement and his wife's retirement. >> yes. >> rose: and the daughter's venture failed and so -- >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: he is off and running. >> yeah. and he is probably not the one out of the group he is not the one you imagine would have embraced india to such a degree but the minute he sees and smells india, he just embraces
it completely and opens up his heart and his wife does it precisely the opposite. >> rose: out of all of the things you just described about him, how much of that was in the text? and how much of that was you understanding the story and saying, this is how i see this man? >> all of that was the latter, it was me saying, this is how i see in man, really. but i think, you know, i do think it chimes with, you know, the writer's intentions i think, i mean that is the sort of the central fact of him, is that he is, you know, my job was to present somebody who is decent and honorable and long suffering and then, you know, people will have a variety of opinions about whether he is doing the right thing, staying in a marriage like that or not. >> rose: someone said the difference between a movie star and actor a movie star looks to
how he can put himself into the character and a movie actor looks as to how he can find from himself who the character is. >> yeah. i absolutely -- i can understand that. i think maybe sometimes it is a combination of the two. yes. but it was understanding this character to see him that way and make sure that's what you wanted your performance to reflect? >> rose:. >> yes. >> rose: that quality about him? >> yes. and i think it does to some degree, it kind of, there were certain parts which you feel express yourself to some degree, and -- but in this case, and in the case -- i did another movie called for hbo called the girl in the cafe where i played another man who was very well to say he was reserved is -- doesn't quite cover it, he was disabled by self-consciousness. >> rose: yes. >> but it was also, it was, and my father wasn't hike that but privately, for me, it was a kind
of -- it was a kind of tribute to my dad, really, because he was a very decent man and he was -- he was a shy man but he was not -- he was not quite as inasmuch trouble as these two guys but he was -- he was a very particular kind of englishman. >> rose: what did he do? >> my father was the works manager of a garage or you would say a gas station. >> rose: yes. and i think you said once wow could smell petrol when you old the window. >> yes we lived in a gas station you opened the door and there was the pump, what do you call it? the. >> rose: the purposes what do you call them in england? >> petrol pumps. >> rose: here is a scene i want to take a look at this scene thi in this is what you td teaching evelyn, judi dench, how to barter, now what should we think about in this scene? i mean obviously we want to enjoy it. >> yes. >> rose: but how did you see this scene? >> i saw this scene as his, you know, he senses there is a woman who he find attractive, who
actually likes him and he hasn't -- you know, he is not the kind of man he doesn't fill lander and he doesn't flirt, but he is going to have -- this is his -- this is probably the first time in 30 years he has tried to seriously impress a woman. >> rose: roll the tape. >> >> how much for this? >> 1,000 rupe also. >> ruples. >> no, no, no, no. forgive me, no, no. .. that is not how it works. sorry to butt in -- you don't ask how much, you tell him how much you will give him. >> 200, absolutely no more, the final offer. >> 1,000 ruples. >> now walk away. >> see what i am doing. >> i think, but i really wanted to buy that, he will come up to us. >> you think so? >> absolutely. this is how the game is played.
just keep on walking. >> he is playing it very cool but he will come. he is playing it very, very cool. >> 850? >> 900, '95 zero, 1,000. thank you. >> we will get him next time. >> rose: what did she say? >> you will get him next time. >> rose: that had humor in it. >> it is sweet and i like that kind of humor because it is not broad humor but it is kind of undercover. >> rose: and you knew he wasn't coming, that first step you knew he is never going to show up and go back and pay 1,000 you just want to see how long he believes the guy is bill to follow him, right? >> exactly. >> rose: maggie smith, still going strong. >> yes. >> rose: what does she have? >> she had what they call timing from god i think. >> rose: if you are going to
get timing, it is not a bad place to go. >> she has impeccable -- the thing about timing, i am not a world expert but it is not -- there is no -- there is no kind of math. it is not the same for everybody. >> rose:. >> rose: yes. >> and you get people who have heavenly timing but it is not like anybody else's and it shouldn't work if you try to apply any formula to it. >> rose: you don't look at it and study and say it -- >> you can't go, right, one, two, three, it is funny. you can't do that. because for certain people it is different and she has kind of very, very specific to her timing. >> #02: you cannot be afraid of silence if you want to have good timing. >> no, no. that is absolutely correct i mean sometimes in the theatre, particularly, that styles, when you know that you got something the unany to say, that is kind of actor's heaven, that little bit of silence before you
deliver something -- >> rose: because you are just teague it up. >> yes. and you can wait, as long as you wait -- everything is fine, you are in a perfect state and it is the perfect state. you are just suspended in time and in a minute you are going to say something. >> rose: your pitch is coming. >> and 1,000 people will fall apart. and it is a very -- and you would like to stay there forever. >> rose: makes you feel all-powerful doesn't it? >> yes, it does. i am at peace. >> rose: now, but you have good timing. >> well, thank you. >> rose: well, okay. i don't mean to flatter you, i mean tell me now you got it. i mean did you have it instintively? >> i don't know, i didn't play comedy roles seriously until quite late later on and you discover that having watched -- i used to watch comics on tv and watch and i loved comedians and i loved stand-up comedians and i like comic actors, and i guess you just pick it up, i think that is the only way i can explain it, you have heard people time things so many times when you were a kid watching tv or whenever, that you just kind
of somehow hopefully now how to place it. >> rose: i would assume this is true comedic actors can do hard drama easier than traditional dramatic actors can do good comedy. >> maybe that is true, yes, maybe. but why would it not be true? >> i don't know. because i am just trying to think quickly of, you know, examples in my head. but i think you are probably right, yeah. >> rose: whose career do you love? suppose i said to you go away and, you know -- go away and look at everybody and tell me who it is that sort of resonates with you. >> somebody who i really admire and who -- over theo6tñ years hs been an inspiration is michael gambon and very encouraging to me when i was young, at the national theatre at the same time i was and he would creep up behind you in the canteen and you can't say on television what he would say to you but it would be positive, couched in, you
know, deep profanity, but it would mean that he would give you his blessings which would get you through the next 18 months or something and he was contemporary, he was a kind of modern actor, he wasn't of a classical tradition which i don't particularly respond to, it is just not my -- it is a generational thing to some degree. >> rose: right. >> and also just an aesthetic, but he is a very kind of -- and it is the same on stage, if anybody, if you ever get to see michael gamble on stage don't in miss the opportunity because he is truly, it is a cliche but he is touched by genius. >> rose: the great gambon. >> yes. how would summon up the exowrj to follow him in a role that he had owned? >> well, that is, that, well, i did do that as you obviously know, and the way you do that is you just have david hair call you up and say what is the matter with you? and i just go
yeah, i will do it, i will do it, i will do it. i turned it down these times before david called me personal think and said what is the problem? and the problem was, i had seen michael gambom do it twice and i had written him a letter and, you know, i have never written to anybody, and i -- it was one of the most wonderful things i had ever seen in my life and i just couldn't daable -- >> rose: what was the play? >> skylight. with david hair one of the great plays written in my lifetime and i -- and because david, you know, range me personally and because, you know, that was -- that was the trigger and i said yes and it was a very big deal and very glad i said yes because it kind of -- it was another it just took a brick out of the wall and just sort of, you know, it was a big, fat leading role and there was this incredible precedence, precedent, rather, and in michael gambon's performance and yet i did it and it kind of -- it helped a great deal. >> rose: first of all you got rave reviews, including him. what did he say to you? >> michael was very, very
complimentary and wrote me a note. >> rose: yes, exactly. >> and it was just great, he was do you remember or not. >> i don't remember precisely and it was also probably very filthy. >> rose: i didn't read the filthy part but just extraordinary, he basically just said nobody could have done this better than you did. >> that means an enormous amount to me. i just want -- i mean, obviously, just to say that -- it can't be overstated the importance of his approval, and there are others, and he is one of them. >> rose: and so, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to watch the two of them together, they are together in page 8. >> absolutely correct. >> rose: and you see them in the same scene. >> yes. >> rose: time after time. >> yes .. >> he plays my boss at m i've 5, the intelligence service the england, and there was a scene that i had never acted with him before until page 8, and there was a scene in a darkened office
which is not the longest or is no great fireworks, a very quiet scene, and i texted david hair who wrote and directed the scene on my way home from work and i have to thank someone and i thank you because i think that was one of the greatest days of my professional life, there was something incredibly moving for me in it, the fact i was working with him, and the fact he was so incredibly affecting in his performance, and the nature of the scene was very sort of tender as well. >> oh, i see. >> what? >> you are just going to go home. >> yes do, you mind? >> i was thinking of going home. >> it is choir practice in 40 minutes. it is hell. >> you are not going to tell me what you are up to? >> me? >> yes, ben. >> what am i up to? >> that's my question. >> that is pretty obvious, i
would have thought. i put a bomb in the water and i am waiting to see where the dead fish land and you didn't think it best to warn me first? or am i one of the fish? >> if wow don't trust me, ben, who do you trust? .. >> distrust is a terrible habit do you find that? >> there is a fine line isn't there between calculation and deceit. you are right. i should have shown you page 8. johnny, i'm sorry. >> good. tomorrow we are going to talk it over, you and i. and we won't do it on the fourth floor, because this is about the survival of the department. >> and the prime minister.
>> coffee shop on avery street. >> when? >> 10:00 o'clock. >> be on the team. >> rose: so when you are with someone like that that you admire do, you talk about acting or do you just simply talk about whatever? cricket or whatever you talk about? >> michael is one of the funniest men in the world he doesn't tell jokes particularly but he makes you ache, literally makes you -- he makes you sore, none of the stories can i tell you on television. i don't think. no. i can't. >> rose: oh, yes you can. >> no, i can't actually. >> rose: i can blank it out. >> no, i can't. honestly. but and i wouldn't do him justice, but i don't think i have ever discussed acting with him. he is very -- he is sort of
allergic to anything getting too serious. >> rose: exactly. he does not want to examine it too much? >> no. no. he doesn't. he is not one of those guys and i have never -- i don't think i ever discussed anything specific about acting with him. >> rose: but he is number one on the ladder. >> he is one of the people who post inspired me, yes, because that was something i could look at and i could kind of identify with his -- >> rose: we have talk acted this, about this before you tonight particularly care for being a classical actor. >> no. >> rose: you don't particularly care for playing shakespeare. >> no. >> rose: it is nice to hear you say no. >> no, i just don't. and it was a great relief. >> rose: you don't want to be -- you have in need, need to show that you can nail hamlet? >> no. >> rose: like nobody has ever failed hamlet so when they look at whatever generation of british actors they will say, ah, i was there the might that bill nighy opened at the
national theatre. >> no, thank god. >> rose: and it was the best hamlet i have ever seen. >> well, it is never going to happen. and it is not going to happen with king lear either. >> rose: oh, come on, you will get old enough to want to do that. >> no. i will never -- i really seriously have zero interest in delivering anything -- in the iambic pentameter. >> rose: you have a lame excuse, kind of a lame excuse. >> when people say there is a lack of classical work and think ask me why and i say because i can't operate this those type of trials. >> rose: that's exactly what you say. >> i can only operate in what they call it a decent lounge suitable and if i am going to appear in public i want to look my best. that is the pr rift and it is an excuse but it is not -- it is also sort of half true, but i am old enough now, i don't need an excuse. i did actually retire, i was in a bathroom or something and there was another, do you want
to do shakespeare and i vaguely struggled with it and when i was younger and needed anything to sort of, you know, to increase my reputation my agent would say come on, you know, and i would have to struggle with it and then i got a point where i thought you know what? i retire. i think i even made a phone call to my agent and said i retire from any form of shakespeare. >> rose: i think you were like 41 when you did this. >> yes. there is also -- there is it is phone call where you know you are 41 because they phone up and say, it is ham met, it is -- and you go no, and they go, it is moscow and tokyo and new york and it is 18 months and whatever and you go, i don't want to play hamlet and they say it is not hamlet, it is claudius. >> you go no. claudius? what happened to hamlet? you mean wrote get to turn down ham leapt anymore? i have to turn down claudius. you know, so that's the reason to say, no to shakespeare,
period. >> yes. >> rose: you just don't want to. >> you don't want them to say claudius. you know. >> is it fear, fear? >> well, it used to be fear, i used to turn things down. >> i was at the national theatre when i was young, and i didn't want to play it because i was terrified, and michael rudman who was a texan, there was a director at the national theatre he met me in the corridor of the national theatre and he said i hear you are going the play the greek, i was thinking what greek? and i hadn't even read the play yet i was so scared and he said -- >> oh, maybe it remind me of what my mom said to my dad, what did she say? when i married you, you were like a greek god and now you are like a (bleep) damn greek. >> i just remember that.
>> rose: that is what michael said. >> michael rudman's best jokes, his best joke was there are three theaters, littleton and the -- and he met a young actor in the kor for when he was amount to direct -- and the young actor had enough drinks to ask him and he said i understand you, michael you are going to direct this film and he said yes, he said give me estregon. >> and he said if you want drugs go around the back like everybody else and i saw him the next day, michael even for you that is a is pretty good, nobody gave me a feed lik that, it was like christmas. >> rose: i thought it was christmas he said. >> give me estregon. >> so i didn't play pericles and i remember getting the phone call, i remember getting the phone call and my agent said if you don't play pericles you have to play pericles at the national theatre if you don't play pericles you will have to find yourself another agent because you are not supposed to turn
down pericles when you are 29. and then my wife said what is the matter with you? you have to play pericles, and so i said, yes okay i will play pericles and for about four months every morning i woke up, oh i have to play pericles and people would say thing it is great because you get to go to moscow, great i get humiliated in three different time zones it will be great and eventually there was a change of plan and the director called me and in my bedroom the phone by the bed and said, no one else would make this phone call my heart started to go i have had a change of heart and i don't want to do pericles anymore. i want to do the tempest and i want you to play ferdinand. now i don't know anything about shakespeare but i have been in enough bar with shakespearean bars i know you can turn that down. >> rose: no problem. so yo you have never been in a r where somebody said, i can't wait to play ferdinand. >> no, nobody ever has.
and so i was able to go into -- i was go to my wife and say, you know, it is ferdinand, you know. and she went, ferdinand! it was like, and i breathed, it was like having a death sentence removed. >ro, really? >> yes. and they gave me compensation. they gave me 1,000 pounds. >> rose: that's what we call a kill fee. >> is it? >> rose: is that what it was? in other words they were not going to give you and give you some money because they wasted your time. >> and obviously we will be talking about compensation. what did i do? do i get money as well? and i said, well how much? he said i don't know we came up with a figure and they came up with 1,000-pound i was so happy i said make it guineas, and you could hear them in the background saying what is is a guinea? a pound and a chilling. so i got 1,000 guineas and i have a letter from the national theatre saying we award 1,000 guineas not to play pericles. and i brought my, brought my
wife a dress, more expensive dress and an expensive dinner and that was 1,000 guineas. >> rose: anything you wanted to play in the theatre that was made for you and you haven't gotten around to it? >> no, no knot really really ths nothing i can think of that i want to play n the theatre as i say, i generally have done new plays. >> rose: right. >> and i have been very, very -- i mean, super fortunate in that respect, inasmuch as i have done world premiers of several of david hair's plays, and, you know, what i want to play, i want to play -- i want to play a great part in the next david hair play is what i want to play. >> rose: well, david hair -- >> it hasn't been written yet. >> rose: but does he tell you when he is in to the midst of writing this is what i am going to do and this sucker will be finished by 18 months and clear your calendar? >> he did do that with page 8, he didn't say -- he didn't know if we would get it made he said
i am writing something and i want you to know about it. which was thrilling. >> rose: the actors other than michael gap bonn, gambon you want to be opposite, you named judi dench, you said this morning a wonderful thing if you did something with her and screw screwed it up they won't let you back in england, with the queen, yes but don't damage the reputation of judi dench. >> if you killed judi dench you would have to wander the world forever. >> rose: never get setting your foot on british soil. >> he is an absolute idol of mine, i flew to new york from london last year in order to see him in a big handing in spokane, which i think is the most pleasure i have never laughed, it was a master class in comic acting, he is a genius, and brilliant in everything, and i think he is, obviously you don't need me to tell you he is one of the great american actors and i
-- i could watch him forever. i remember once i missed him playing -- in the seagull and i vowed i was never going to miss him on stage again. >> rose: you do that? you are on a plane and nobody somebody you care about who is going to do something that is really wonderful and you might not be able to see it again you get on the plane and go watch the performance? >> yes there are very, very few that make me feel that way but he is definitely one of them and i would never want to miss anything he did ever again either on -- >> rose: suppose that you get up tomorrow morning and are here in new york and a new york times times story that says bob dillon announces his retirement, his last performance. >> i would be -- i would crawl over several dead bodies. >> rose: would you really? >> i went to see him in london last year i went twice on consecutive nights, and he is the single most important artist in my life, and as you know, we discussed it, and when things went bad, when things are bad
guy to bob and i listen to bob dillon every day, i have play lists on an ipod and never going to be a play list that doesn't include bob dillon he just -- there is something profound. >> rose: it is the poetry,. >> it is the poetry, he is a great single, in my view he is one of the great singers of all-time. he is one of the fate blues stingers of all-time, one thing i think i know about, one of the things i kind of completely confidently think that i am an expert about is how -- is blues singing. i think, you know, it is like bout in, beauty in women i think i am a great expert on that and i know better than anyone in the world who can sing the blues and bob dillon is one of the greatest blues singers i ever heard in my life, it is flawless, talk about timing, it is just dead on, it is beautiful. >> rose: and who else is on your list? >> van morrison. >> rose: oh, that's right. >> van morrison is a rhythm and blues genius, and my other great
favorite is john lee hooker, john lee hooker who i played all throughout this movie, the soundtrack in my hotel room in india during this movie was john lee hooker, bob dillon, van morrison, bill evans on piano and felonious monk on solo by an piano in case what anybody wants to know who i was listening, to john lee hook never india works very, very well. >> rose: can you play? >> no, i can't play anything. i used to want to be, obviously i wanted to be in a band, when i was young, and i was briefly in a band, but we didn't make it out of the garage. >> rose: i am getting ready to embarrass you so watch out. >> okay. >> rose: this is a montage of some of your work. >> okay. >> rose: here it is. roll the tape. >> okay. >> she said i didn't care. >> she accused me of lacking tenderness, and she was right.
>> here is an important message from your uncle bill. don't buy drugs. become a pop star and they give them to you for free. >> did she tell you about the letter or find it among her things. >> tucked in her diary programs what letter is that? >> ramblings of an aging fart, senility is setting in early. naughty to take it, very naughty indeed. >> yes, i found that, great to have it back written under stress, regrettable things, wouldn't want it falling in the wrong things. >> sorry, bennett are we talking about the same letter. >> what is yours about? >> if you meant to destroy with an adult that is work with centuries. >> what about us? >> why? >> i don't know! >> well, find out! >> for ten years i looked after those who died at sea, and
finally, finally we could be together again, you went there. >> when he gives me confirmation that hitler is dead, then we will proceed. > > and where are you going? >> same place as you are. >> lunch. >> how is your mom. >> she is fine. not over fond of me at the moment. >> he is a very attractive woman. >> well, no, seriously i mean to you, she is your mom, but to people of my age, she is a sexual legend. > these are dark times there is no denying. our world has perhaps face nod greater threat than it does today. that i say this to our
citizenry, we ever your servants will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you. >> you view the names of potential british terror lists but fail to pass one because you didn't want to reveal where you got them, you risked lives and you knowingly misled parliament about illegal practices. >> well, blimey. >> i hardly have ever seen any of those before. that is the first time i have ever seen most of that, actually. >> rose: shocking? >> but, thank you. no it is quite shocking yes because i have never watched that theme with, either of those scenes, and i have seen the squid, because i don't mind watching the squid because it is a squid and what are you going to say? you don't like my squid? well, you know. find your own squid. >> rose: yes. >> but, no, it is quite shocking
because i have never seen them before, but i am also very -- but thank you for showing them. i am am touched you should assemble such a thing, yes. >> rose: and we thank neal, he did that but it was a remarkable effort of his to put it altogether in that way too. >> yes. right. >> rose: so you could see the range, different kind of things, i can't let you go because of this conversation without listening to this. >> okay. >> rose: roll the tape, david hair. >> for me the minute he walked through the door, i just thought he was the most interesting young actor industry ever seen. >> rose:. >> why is that? >> because there was a self knowing wit about him, there was a complexity about a man who knows that a lot of what he does is ridiculous and that seemed terribly modern, you say you believe something but you can't help half making a joke about it. and with bill there is always there slight reluctance to put himself forward, the brilliant remark followed by the self deprecating laugh and i always
loved that manner and it does seem to judge by the reaction of the broadway audience it is uniquely attractive to women. >> this is like being dead. >> rose: that's right. >> well, i hope -- >> rose: it is like a dream. it happened yesterday and you were on a motorcycle -- >> i know. >> rose: and i'm sorry to say -- i'm sorry to say our time is up. >> thank you. >> rose: you are quite wonderful. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: and a i could mention one more time that "the best exotic marigold hotel" is in theaters now and when you think of the cast and when you think of the themes about retirement and healthcare and age and all of those things, it comes in a remarkable package that is put together in this film, bill nighy knows how much i admire him and how much i treasure the fact that we have opportunities occasionally to do what we have just done, so thank you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: thank you f see you next time.